The Data-Philes Team Meet the Time Traveler

The year is 1999, somewhere in Cambridge, UK. Kathi, a member of the Data-Philes team, is reading a memo sent from her manager. The memo talks about someone who disrupted a project management meeting in London. He claims he is from 20 years in the future. Chris walks in.

Chris: Kathi, have you seen the latest assignment from Simon? If we leave now,  we can be at the facility where the time traveler is being held in a few minutes. Maybe he can share some of the news about 2019, like where to buy the best flying car.

Kathi: A few minutes! Do you have a transporter that I don’t know about? Chris, obviously, this man is suffering from delusions. There is no reason interview him. Instead, I just heard that SQL Server 7 was released, and I would like to spend some time checking it out.

Chris: Ya know, Kathi, you don’t even need a DBA when you use SQL Server 7.

Kathi: Ugh. I need to start brushing up on Oracle. All the SQL 6.5s will probably be upgraded within a year, and I won’t have a job!

Chris: There is something really odd about our time traveler. You wouldn’t believe some of the things he said at that meeting!

Kathi: Like what?

Chris: Well, first, he said that the way the company builds software is all wrong.

Kathi: Aren’t they using Waterfall methodology?

Chris: That’s just it. They are using it.

Kathi: So, why is that wrong?

Chris: He says that in the future, companies will embrace something called DevOps. Instead of building the entire project and releasing it all at once, they will deploy code daily, maybe even several times a day! Developers and operations teams, including DBAs, will work together to make sure that deployments run smoothly.

Kathi: DevOps? That sounds like science fiction! Obviously, this man has watched a few too many Star Trek episodes!

Chris: It gets better. He started talking about cloning databases to save space and time for developers.

Kathi: See, there you go. Why would anyone care about saving space and time? The biggest database I’ve worked with was just a few gigabytes. Yes, it’s a pain to copy for developers and setting everything up takes a few days, but we only have to do it a couple of times a year. We are careful to keep the database stable and not let too many changes sneak in.

Chris: That’s what’s so amazing. He said that, in 20 years, it will not be unusual to have terabyte databases! With cloning, even a terabyte database can be delivered to a developer in seconds! And, it doesn’t take up much room on the dev’s hard drive.

Kathi: Like I said: too much Star Trek! And, of course, when we need to set up a brand-new environment, it only takes a few months to order the hardware, build it, and get everything installed. It’s not a big deal as long as there is space for the new server in the basement server room.

Chris: Virtualization will be popular, too, so you won’t have to order hardware for every project.

Kathi: Well, SQL Server will never run on a virtual machine!

Chris: He also mentioned that the company should do everything they can to prevent data breaches, especially since so much data will live in the cloud.

Kathi: What is a data breach? Data in the cloud? Now I know this guy is delusional. That sounds like something from a Star Wars movie or maybe The Matrix.

Chris: Evidently, in the future, it is not unusual for the data from a major company to be stolen. Names, addresses, credit card numbers, all that in the hands of thieves! If only they would use their powers for good and not evil!

Kathi: Is there any way to protect this type of sensitive information in the future?

Chris: Yes, he mentions that companies can use data masking software to sanitize personal information before giving the databases to developers.

Kathi: That’s amazing, but it sounds like so much work.

Chris: This is why I think this guy might be telling the truth. He mentioned that there are tools in the future that make automating this easier than it sounds. He even managed to bring back some of these tools to demonstrate to the team.

Kathi: Now, that I’d like to see…

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